Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.7 earthquake hits the south-west Indian Ridge.

5.4 earthquake hits North Island, New Zealand.

5.3 earthquake hits the south-west Indian Ridge.

Two 5.2 earthquakes hit the south-west Indian Ridge.

5.2 earthquake hits north of Ascension Island.

5.2 earthquake hits the Bougainville region, Papua New Guinea.

5.2 earthquake hits Minahasa, Sulawesi, Indonesia.

5.1 earthquake hits the south-west Indian Ridge.

5.1 earthquake hits Mindanao, Philippines.

Storms and Floods

Tropical Storms – Roundup of Tropical Storms:

In the Atlantic Ocean: Hurricane Chris is located about 315 mi…510 km e of Cape Hatteras North Carolina and about 1175 mi…1885 km sw of Cape Race Newfoundland with maximum sustained winds…105 mph…165 km/h. Present movement…ne or 50 degrees at 22 mph…35 km/h.

In the western Pacific Ocean: Typhoon 10w (Maria), located approximately 109 nm northwest of Taipei, Taiwan, is tracking westward at 19 knots.

In the eastern Pacific Ocean: Invest 98E is an area of disturbed weather in the eastern Pacific that has the potential for further tropical development.

Global Warming

Subtle Effects of Climate Change – Monarch Butterflies

Climate change could make a showy invasive milkweed called a bloodflower a menace for monarch butterflies.

Monarch caterpillars, which feed on plants in the milkweed family, readily feast on Asclepias curassavica. Gardeners in the southern United States plant it for its showy orange blooms, yet the species “is turning out to be a bit of a nightmare,” says Mark Hunter of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Monarchs (Danaus plexippus) migrating south to Mexico in the fall come across bloodflower bonanzas and don’t bother to keep on flying. Full migration normally prevents a harmful Ophryocistis parasite from building up in the insect population. Cutting the migration cycle short lets infection flourish.

In experiments, bloodflowers grown in outdoor enclosures under high carbon dioxide concentrations, around 760 parts per million, don’t make as much medicinal cardenolide as normal. Caterpillars need these compounds to help fight parasites. Levels of two particularly potent forms of cardenolide stayed low. Parasites were more damaging to caterpillars chewing through these CO2-rich flowers than to those caterpillars fattening on plants grown under current atmospheric conditions.

Higher temperatures due to climate change, however, may boost cardenolides instead of reducing them. That could turn the bloodflower species toxic to monarchs, according to a test growing milkweeds in enclosures with daytime temperatures raised some 3 degrees Celsius higher than outside air. A native milkweed, A. incarnata, didn’t get close to toxic.

Researchers don’t know how the opposing effects of CO2 and heat might act on cardenolides overall. Regardless of how further research on that question turns out, bloodflowers are already a threat to monarchs. Hunter urges gardeners who can’t resist growing the plants to at least cut them back in the fall, so that they won’t derail the monarch migration.

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Wildfires – Nevada, USA

The Martin fire started July 5 near Paradise Valley, Nevada. In the days following, it spread to 399,429 acres, according to the incident information system on Monday. Grass, brush and some small pieces of timber fueled the fire, spreading it across the county. There was also a persistent wind that helped grow the fire from where it was already burning.

The fire, burning in Humboldt County, was the largest burning anywhere in the entire country, according to NASA. The space agency captured the fire and the residual smoke on one of its satellites. The flames were reaching heights of 45 feet, and the fire was spreading quickly. The cause of the fire remains unknown.


Foot and Mouth Disease – Zimbabwe

The Midlands provincial veterinary officer has confirmed an outbreak of foot and mouth disease in Kwekwe and parts of Redcliff. The whole of Kwekwe has been put under quarantine. There is no movement of cattle allowed for now, either to or from Kwekwe.